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Why is India pursuing closer relations with Saudi Arabia in recent days?

I mean, Saudi Arabia was never in India's radar ever! And suddenly India is pursuing better relations with Saudi Arabia? What could be the possible reasons for it?

Sorry if this question is way off the mark :(
Writing CSE Mains 2016

Comments

  • India has been in its recent past following a multi pronged foreign policy which is a breakaway from its cold war somewhat rigid stance. Now India has been seen in the US and the West as a pivot to Asia and is being integrated into US-led institutions. This means closer engagement with Us allies such as Japan, Aus, Canada and also Saudi Arabia.
  • Okay, I do not think India is allying closely with US allies at all. I mean we are not even being seen a toeing the US line on all major issues. There is something more to it def.

    But thanks for answering @Mistral
    Writing CSE Mains 2016
  • VivekJ2 said:

    I mean, Saudi Arabia was never in India's radar ever! And suddenly India is pursuing better relations with Saudi Arabia? What could be the possible reasons for it?

    Sorry if this question is way off the mark :(

    The bold statement is not correct. May be thats why you are thinking that we are pursuing better relations with Saudi Arabia now. It has always been cordial.
    IRTS (2015), ITS (2014).
  • VivekJ2 said:

    Okay, I do not think India is allying closely with US allies at all. I mean we are not even being seen a toeing the US line on all major issues. There is something more to it def.

    But thanks for answering @Mistral

    I did not say India was "allying" with them. I said that India was having relations with US allies that have been the closest in her history of the past two centuries. And Saudi is one of them. We are veryy far from an alliance yet but things today are moving faster than ever before.
    This is the only conspicuous change in recent years that could satisfy your assertion. Other than that India-Saudi relations have always been cordial as pointed above.
  • I am not sure India has a specific policy for the Middle East. Its ties with Iran, Israel and Saudi Arabai have mostly been of economic co-operation mainly due to Oil and NRI population (and ties with Israel opened only during Vajpayee era). So, I wouldn't conclude India has been siding towards Saudi Arabia.
    Further, Saudi Arabia has been a Pakistan supporter and promoter of Wahabism and India isn't comfortable with either!
  • edited March 2016
    India always had good relations with Saudi but in recent times there have been a renewed vigour. It might be due to following reasons:
    1. Until recently the oil production and distribution was directed by US-Saudi policy but since the race for shale began GCC has asserted its independence in matters of oil production which has opened doors for other players to enhance engagement with Saudi (we are looking to build a Strategic reserve)
    2. India is trying to de-couple its relation with Saudi vis-a-vis Pakistan
    3. Diaspora emphasis is a special tool of Modi-style geopolitics and in recent times cases of harsh treatment of workers in Saudi have arose which required enhance engagement with Saudi
    4. Latin america, Africa, Middle east and SE Asia are the 4 foremost upcoming economic centres around the globe. China is trying to dominate Europe and Middle East via OROB and India's enhance engagement with Saudi is to counter the Chinese dominance
    5. (Most imp according to me) There has been a tectonic shift in India's policy wrt Israel which has upset Saudi. Also with lifting of sanction on Iran, Iran-India relations are expected to surge which would make Saudi more uncomfortable and could create a vulnerable situation for India (in various forms for instance Pak polarising Saudi towards itself) so India is forging/strengthening its relation with Saudi beforehand

    A good relation with Saudi also aligns us with US (at least temporarily) but I dont think it is the main reason
    The Wound is the place where the Light enters you.
  • sss_2503 said:

    India always had good relations with Saudi but in recent times there have been a renewed vigour. It might be due to following reasons:
    1. Until recently the oil production and distribution was directed by US-Saudi policy but since the race for shale began GCC has asserted its independence in matters of oil production which has opened doors for other players to enhance engagement with Saudi (we are looking to build a Strategic reserve)
    2. India is trying to de-couple its relation with Saudi vis-a-vis Pakistan
    3. Diaspora emphasis is a special tool of Modi-style geopolitics and in recent times cases of harsh treatment of workers in Saudi have arose which required enhance engagement with Saudi
    4. Latin america, Africa, Middle east and SE Asia are the 4 foremost upcoming economic centres around the globe. China is trying to dominate Europe and Middle East via OROB and India's enhance engagement with Saudi is to counter the Chinese dominance
    5. (Most imp according to me) There has been a tectonic shift in India's policy wrt Israel which has upset Saudi. Also with lifting of sanction on Iran, Iran-India relations are expected to surge which would make Saudi more uncomfortable and could create a vulnerable situation for India (in various forms for instance Pak polarising Saudi towards itself) so India is forging/strengthening its relation with Saudi beforehand

    A good relation with Saudi also aligns us with US (at least temporarily) but I dont think it is the main reason

    Good analysis
  • Also don't forget the real thing: help of saudi in time of yemen crisis for evacuating indians. Plus relations has always been cordial due to large indian diaspora over there.
    Like any human, i'm also looking for love and validation.
    Pre: 2; Mains: 1
  • edited March 2016
    @ vivekj2 I am so glad you asked this question. IR is one of my things, and I will try to frame an answer to your satisfaction. Please feel free to tag in my any IR questions that you may have in future.

    If you have been going through the newspaper, you should have read about three initiatives between Saudi Arabia and India viz.

    1. Energy Security Partnership 2008
    2. Strategic Partnership 2010
    3. Defense Partnership 2014

    Before you move deeper you have to understand a few things. Our policy with respect to South Africa is guided by following factors

    1. We import oil from Saudi Arabia
    2. 6 million Indians live in the Gulf - Saudi Arabia being one of the primary places
    3. Saudis made be our only friends in the The Organization of Islamic Conference - where Pakistan is also a member, and the OIC matters to India
    4. India has a decent Muslim minority population.
    5. Saudis do not like Iran. Obama is beginning to like Iran - overturning the age old US policy.


    Now, on economic front, Saudi Arabia has a big potential to add to our topline. We currently have close to 40 billion dollar trade - this is only oil based. India would definitely want to be trading services - IT & non IT and a lot of other things such as engineering ( we are already sending engineers there ) in Saudi - so as to spread our trading relations.

    This will help us when US and EU goes down. We are already trying to work with SE Asia to increase our trade footprint. Saudi can really help us spread the economic footprint and hence provide a hedge.

    The King Abdullah Economic City - where Saudi wants India to build a deep sea port - is of significance to both India and SA.

    India has good relations with African nations - which is non existent for SA. Some strategists also see SA using Indian infulence to enter South Africa.

    Our diaspora send tons of money back home and this has to continue if we want peace and prosperity in states that send Indians to SA.

    But thats not all. It is the Geo strategic dimension that is bringing us close.

    1. Saudis do have a choice to choose between Indian and Pakistan. And they are not happy with Pakistan Parliament not sending troops to Yemen when Saudis wanted to.

    2. Indias also sent their ships and planes for safe evacuation in the Yemen crisis ( do ask me on what happened in Yemen , in case you are missing the point ). And it was Saudis who assured a safe passage to Indian Airplanes.

    3. As I said - Iran is a big enemy . Remember that in 2012-2013 Saudis were even willing to sponsor and pay Israel to take action in Iran.

    4. Now comes the China angle. It is commonly said that oil is the currency of the past. Connectivity is the key. Now China is banking hugely on its OBOR Policy - One Belt One Road Policy. You should Google Iran OBOR or click below

    https://www.google.co.in/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=OBOR+iran

    Iran has a pivotal role there. Iran will have a major role to play. Iran is the No. 1 enemy for Saudis ( ask me why or google it ) And China isnt great friends with India either.

    That is also one of the reasons why Saudis and Indians are coming together.

    Apart from that, India's anti-terrorism stand echoes with Saudi concern because they are as big a threat to Saudis - who have had a free run as monarchy - without fear of democracy or a Islamic Revolution.

    Let me know if anything sounds cryptic here and I would love to elaborate further. :)

    *No good deed goes unpunished*
  • Apart from shia-sunni angle is there anything else that is reason for animosity between iran and saudi?
    सुख के सब साथी, दुःख में ना कोई
    मेरे राम, मेरे राम
    तेरा नाम एक साचा दूजा न कोई
  • edited March 2016
    Neyawn said:

    @ vivekj2 I am so glad you asked this question. IR is one of my things, and I will try to frame an answer to your satisfaction. Please feel free to tag in my any IR questions that you may have in future.

    If you have been going through the newspaper, you should have read about three initiatives between Saudi Arabia and India viz.

    1. Energy Security Partnership 2008
    2. Strategic Partnership 2010
    3. Defense Partnership 2014

    Before you move deeper you have to understand a few things. Our policy with respect to South Africa is guided by following factors

    1. We import oil from Saudi Arabia
    2. 6 million Indians live in the Gulf - Saudi Arabia being one of the primary places
    3. Saudis made be our only friends in the The Organization of Islamic Conference - where Pakistan is also a member, and the OIC matters to India
    4. India has a decent Muslim minority population.
    5. Saudis do not like Iran. Obama is beginning to like Iran - overturning the age old US policy.


    Now, on economic front, Saudi Arabia has a big potential to add to our topline. We currently have close to 40 billion dollar trade - this is only oil based. India would definitely want to be trading services - IT & non IT and a lot of other things such as engineering ( we are already sending engineers there ) in Saudi - so as to spread our trading relations.

    This will help us when US and EU goes down. We are already trying to work with SE Asia to increase our trade footprint. Saudi can really help us spread the economic footprint and hence provide a hedge.

    The King Abdullah Economic City - where Saudi wants India to build a deep sea port - is of significance to both India and SA.

    India has good relations with African nations - which is non existent for SA. Some strategists also see SA using Indian infulence to enter South Africa.

    Our diaspora send tons of money back home and this has to continue if we want peace and prosperity in states that send Indians to SA.

    But thats not all. It is the Geo strategic dimension that is bringing us close.

    1. Saudis do have a choice to choose between Indian and Pakistan. And they are not happy with Pakistan Parliament not sending troops to Yemen when Saudis wanted to.

    2. Indias also sent their ships and planes for safe evacuation in the Yemen crisis ( do ask me on what happened in Yemen , in case you are missing the point ). And it was Saudis who assured a safe passage to Indian Airplanes.

    3. As I said - Iran is a big enemy . Remember that in 2012-2013 Saudis were even willing to sponsor and pay Israel to take action in Iran.

    4. Now comes the China angle. It is commonly said that oil is the currency of the past. Connectivity is the key. Now China is banking hugely on its OBOR Policy - One Belt One Road Policy. You should Google Iran OBOR or click below

    https://www.google.co.in/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=OBOR+iran

    Iran has a pivotal role there. Iran will have a major role to play. Iran is the No. 1 enemy for Saudis ( ask me why or google it ) And China isnt great friends with India either.

    That is also one of the reasons why Saudis and Indians are coming together.

    Apart from that, India's anti-terrorism stand echoes with Saudi concern because they are as big a threat to Saudis - who have had a free run as monarchy - without fear of democracy or a Islamic Revolution.

    Let me know if anything sounds cryptic here and I would love to elaborate further. :)

    Beautiful and lucid explanation can u please elaborate this point(bold one.).How terrorism is a threat to it?(something to do with Yemen crisis?? and that Iran clerics hanging??)
    and for rivalry between IRAN and SA is there anything else apart from Shia-Sunni conflict??
  • I think the push for better relations with Saudi Arabia could be due to following reasons:

    1.Rise of Islamic State has meant close security co-operation with gulf nations is becoming an imperative.Same goes with UAE

    2.Even the gulf nations are looking at the likes of China and India to provide security in the region in the light of declining western interests and capabilities(due to slow economic growth)

    3.India's oil imports are bound to increase given our rising energy demands.Low oil prices open avenues for long term deals providing price stability.

    4.India may want to attract Saudi's Sovereign wealth fund to invest in India's infrastructure.

    5. Remittances from indian diaspora are falling.Diplomatic engagement could ensure indian workers don't get laid off on a large scale in favour of domestic ones given the pressure from low oil prices in Saudi's economy.


    6.To balance relations in West Asia given our inclination for better relations with Iran and Israel.

    7.Increased diplomatic push could also be due to recent incidents of hand chopping of indian workers and instances of torture.Also Saudi diplomat harassing Nepali women could be an agenda since India has to be responsive to nepal's sensitivities.
    CSE 2016 Indian Police Service ( IPS )
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